Dariia LOSEVA: “Nutrition of the future is deliberate nutrition”
17 October, 2018
Dasha Loseva, geneticist and CEO of ambitious project Myhelix, uniting those ones who realize meaning of genetic tests for human future, discussed with us globally interesting things – from genetic typing of the Ukrainians to the menus of future restaurants.
Dasha, please, tell us about your plan-maximum and optimum achievements you are to receive by working over Myhelix Project?
There are absolutely superior targets, tasks and desires such as development of gene therapy and personalized medicine in Ukraine. At the moment, Myhelix is not working with medicine, but it would be good to support this movement as much as possible. For Ukraine, it will a breakthrough if we have respectable genetic center which will work over implementation of current though unsolvable problems: cancer treatment, individual selection of medical products. I want our country to have the possibility to hold rather expensive genome-high tests or apply chip technologies being currently used successfully in the USA and Europe. I would like the Ukrainians to get their genetic data with more progressive methods.
Very interesting plan-maximum could be the project on genetic typing of our compatriots. By the way, the Chinese have promised that by 2030 they will provide genetic typing of 100 million people. The acquired data will become the basis for further research in personalized medicine. It will be possible to enable individual selection of medical drugs and their dosing to achieve higher effect of treatment.
With such data, we can raise extremely healthy nation, can’t we?
As for now, these are simply dreams and fantasies. We still have little knowledge about our genes, their functions, cross influence. Yes, it is possible to help people with preventive measures, search for ways how to avoid potential illness risk. It is also possible to find new treatment methods, get more effective result. I think, healthy nation will appear when people have conscious approach to solving various life-important questions: from preparation to pregnancy to nutrition selection. Of course, it will be great if the state promotes development of science and medicine.
What extent is man dependent on food to?
There is huge number of reasons for occurrence of different dependencies. From genetic point of view, there is a range of genes being associated with larger predisposition to develop numerous addictions, for example: DRD4, DRD2 genes (dopamine receptors 4, 2). With certain variant of these genes, density of the dopamine receptors is disturbed, and that is one of factors when the man has the need to receive more external pleasures. It can be extreme, sex, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, food… There are people more subject to the influence of pleasures. For someone it`s easy to give up smoking any time, somebody cannot imagine this process without huge efforts. For example, for people with DRD2 gene variant (rs4648317) — TT — it is more difficult to refuse from nicotine.
Genes help to define the critical extent of smoking process for the person. As to some extent some genes, for instance, CYP1A1, GSTP1 and GSTM1, are responsible for detoxication process of degradation process during smoking. Of course, smoking is harmful, however, we can sometimes see 90-year old grandpas being smoking all their life and having no significant problems with health. And there are people who in 5-10 smoking years will have various pathologies and complications.
When talking to clients, friends, acquaintances, we understand that many people lack motivation, to get rid of harmful habits. Sometimes, external factor, for instance, DNA-test, to determine predisposition to genetic illnesses or revealing human features is crucial. It`s good that in such way we help people to take decision as to refuse from harmful things.
So, you can motivate a man in the way that they knowing about the problems, would get up in the morning and rush to the gym, refusing from croissant with chocolate in favor of porridge with fruit?
Our task is not to influence the person but help with developing healthy habits. It is not easy because a man should have a wish to bring something new and useful into their life. They need willpower to make it a habit, not to give in to temptation to return to previous forms. That is why, we are interested in aiding parents to form culture of healthy habits with the children.
Many people know that 30 minutes of dynamic physical activities extend life. When talking to friends wishing to live longer and more healthy, we ask, how regularly they do physical activities. And more often we hear the answer – no, not regularly.
By the way, porridge in the morning may not be the best variant for breakfast. Selection of nutrition can be individual considering various features, including flavor ones. A man may know that broccoli is useful but they hate it, in such case they should not force themselves but use another more pleasant alternative. Otherwise, if healthy thing is associated with negative emotions, healthy habit will not appear.
People often look for “magic pill”: what to eat to be healthy or lose weight. We always warn our clients from that. Our service can only show direction but next step is daily work of a person. The same is about losing weight. At the moment we are not deliberately helping in fight with overweight. Obviously, if the person starts following our recommendations, build ration balanced with calories and nutrients, there will be weight improvement, but this is not our goal at the moment. Fatness is multiple-factor problem. Reason for its occurrence can be genetics as well, but most often, this problem is characterized with psychological and endocrine diseases. Just one genetic test will not solve everything. If a person, suffering from overweight, decides and starts working systematically with doctors, trainers, we will be able to help accelerate the process of losing kilos. But nothing will happen without their wish and support of specialists.
According to the data of Oxford University, 20% of Ukrainian population suffer from excess weight. 20 percent means 9 million people. This is population of the Czech Republic! The whole country of people with excess weight, that is, with increased predisposition to hypertonia, problems with heart and vessels, diabetics and various pathologies! It`s improper to talk about it in our case, but we should! In Ukraine they cannot support people wishing to lose weight. In comparison with alcohol or drug dependence, there are no special centers nor therapeutic support groups to solve the problem… Definitely, genetics means a lot. 80% overweight parents have children with excess weight. If excess weight is peculiar to mother – then in 60%, if only to father – then in 50% cases only. But here we have another issue: will it be easy for a person losing weight with the understanding that overweight is genetic predisposition? For some people such information is a reason to relax even more, in other words “I was born in that way, we cannot fight with genes…” But understanding of such predisposition in early age can help the person to develop healthy habits which will help avoid occurrence of pathology. That is why, our team is really interested in searching the mechanisms, useful for everyone who wants to get changes with health to the positive side and willing to deal with prevention not treatment.
How often is DNA-testing service requested in Ukraine?
It is interesting for many people despite the high price of the product. Of course, there are skeptics who treat tests as a diet under blood groups or taromancy. But, I think that this is normal process when you offer new technological solutions. Nimble mind starts with denying, even more in Ukraine, where degree of trust is very low and many people are afraid to be deceived. However, when people start getting interested in the topic and they see its scientific value, skepticism disappears.
This year, in the end of August, we launched new product – the test “My concern”, analysis of 40 genes, which will be implemented in Finland. Due to transportation and data volume, the test will be more expensive. However, genetics is still expensive. We, as it`s possible, try to make the suggested services more accessible, as well as to inform Ukrainians to increase overall knowledge level about genetics.
How do you see nutrition of the future?
I have been thinking a lot about this topic. From evolutionary topic of view, nutrition with some fantastic injections is not in near future. Definitely, I cannot say, that the humanity in general cannot develop in such way. That is why, there is a comic story that with appearance of computers and necessity for fast printing, evolutionists were dreaming about fast adaptation of a man by means of hexadactylism. However, just in 10 years, touchscreens appeared and now hexadactylism is not just simply unnecessary, one finger will be enough. It`s hard to imagine how the world will look like in 20-30 years. But, definitely, during such short time there will be no physiological changes in the human organism. Now, we have digestive tract, 8-meter long bowel which needs hard food for digesting. As long as we have such bowel, we cannot talk about currently popular liquid nutrition. After such “super-diets” doctors tell the cases when patients have bowel villus dead and as a result absorption of substances required for the organism does not take place. As a result we have reanimation.
I think that nutrition of the future will be based on conscience. Attention should be concentrated on the fact to better and more effectively use products with well-studied needs of the organism. Menu of the future in restaurants will not be divided into appetizers, main courses, desserts… Division will be based on the efficiency of each dish. For example, in one section, there will be dishes with high concentration of vitamin D3, in the second one – offers with calcium, magnesium, in the third one – dishes rich in zinc and phosphorus..
To what extent does the person understand what they eat?
In many countries on governmental level, there are programs which help the person to deal with nutrition, providing various educational brochures.
Dasha, are you ready to make such breakthrough for the Ukrainians?
Yes, sure! It`s time to take responsibility for our health and start correct nutrition at the moment. Due to the death reasons in Ukraine we have cardiovascular diseases in the first place, oncology in the second one. Occurrence of such diseases in 70% is provoked by nutrition. Globally, Ukraine does not have culture of nutrition, we did not develop it… Times changed, speed of communication as well as speed of perceiving information increased, then why among other data the nutrition speed does not change? My grandmother spent at least 4 hours to cook food for family. I cannot afford it for myself. For everything, being cooked for more than 15 minutes is not simple healthy food. And we don’t talk about frozen uncooked food. Any healthy porridge is cooked in multi-cooker for 10-15 minutes. In this case, we don`t need to mix it all the time, to see whether it did not run or burn down. The same is about cooking steamed fish, meat, vegetables. It`s reasonable approach to healthy lifestyle, being promoted by Myhelix.
And what is “healthy lifestyle”? The World Health Organization already in 1984 gave definition to HLS meaning the process intended to improve the quality of health and life. For the beginning, we study our organism to understand what is bad in it. Then you make the list of actions that in certain time period will change the situation for the better. If you want to live well and long, why not to initially refer to your organism?
We help with genetic tests by defining strong and weak sides of organism, by showing the man which microelements it absorbs badly, which of them normally. We offer optimum products which can be used in daily ration to improve health. In such case all the recommendations correspond to international dietology standards, our specialists make recommendations taking into account data of leading institutes, associations etc. The developed recommendations take into account individual analysis of client. The goal is to complete genetically predefined lack under those or other micronutrients. If you know initially where you should pay your attention – you will change ration, habits and will be able to prevent occurrence of disease. This is a long-lasting process of conscious understanding, but it will actually help to become more healthy and live with higher quality.
Questioned by Inna Levenets